Real estate advertising can be challenging.
That’s because you’re selling a high-ticket item, and it’s not like someone can just shop online after clicking your link.
The process of home buying looks different from the process of buying a necklace or booking a vacation. Makes sense, right?
If yes, then why are you trying the same strategies that you’re seeing other businesses use?
Today, we’re talking about Facebook ads for real estate agents and companies. Let’s get into it.
In this ultimate guide, we’re talking directly to real estate agents and companies…
…but these real estate Facebook ad strategies we will talk about can also apply to a lot of service businesses.
In fact, we recently published a post on marketing a service business. You can check that out next.
With billions of people on this social media platform, and your reach to everyone on Instagram as well, Facebook is an easy “yes”.
- When it comes to Facebook ads for real estate, this type of ad works because these people have already shown interest in what you offer.
- If you’re running a lead generation marketing campaign, you want to make sure you’re following up with all leads within the first 24 hours.
- With a little bit of planning and the right strategy, you can see success with Facebook ads for real estate.
Facebook Ads For Real Estate: Targeting That Works Well
Before we get into the specifics of what you need to do before you create real estate Facebook ads and run them…
…to make sure you’re optimizing your time, efforts, and budget, let’s look at the well-performing types of Facebook ads for real estate agents.
We’ve compiled this list using our personal experience and the experience of other account managers here at LYFE.
You are by no means relegated to the examples we use here. You can make any ad type work for you with proper planning and strategy.
But, we’ve found these to be good starting points, and it’s important to keep these in mind while running your first campaign.
a. Facebook Retargeting Ads
- What are they?
These are ads that are shown to people who have already engaged with your business or page in some way.
- Why do they work?
When it comes to Facebook ads for real estate, this type of ad works because these people have already shown interest in what you offer.
They are a “warm” audience, so they are more likely to move down your sales funnel.
- Who should you target?
Your target audience will depend on the data you have.
Have lots of followers on your Facebook business page? Target them first.
Have thousands of views on your latest video? Target that.
Have a lot of website traffic? Target that!
Essentially, target who you can and build your reach.
- What content could you share?
Remember that you’re retargeting a warm audience, so you want to share content that makes sense to them.
Where are they in their buying/selling process, and what would be most helpful or important for them to hear right now?
- Promote new listings (share with someone you know who’s looking)
- Encourage referrals
- Introduce previous buyers to the concept of investment properties
- Talk about a first-time-buyer loan program update
Pro Tip: You’ll want to create lookalike audiences for all of your retargeting audiences.
b. Location Targeting
- What are they?
These Facebook ads for real estate are kept to a specific geographic radius. For instance, you want to reach the right people within a 15-mile radius.
You can target folks who live there, folks who have traveled there, and folks who recently were there.
Each of these may be useful depending on the audience you’re targeting.
- Why do they work?
These ads give better results because you’re not spending money showing houses to someone who lives in a different state and has no intention of moving.
Location targeting is one of the best option for location-based businesses like real estate.
Who should you target?
As we mentioned, you’ll target folks depending on what you know about your audience.
If most of your prospective buyers right now are looking to scale up and move out of a “starter” house into a bigger, nicer house…
…maybe you target folks in the suburbs and show them the new house on the hill.
What content could you share?
- New listing
- Open House details
- Virtual tour
- Square footage
- Free resources/webinars you’re hosting or giving away to contacts
- Market updates
- Posts encouraging homeowners to at least SEE what their home is worth.
The sky is the limit. Get creative.
Let’s now move on to the next steps in preparing and setting up your campaigns.
And make sure to stick around until the end, because we’ve brainstormed a bunch of ideas for ad campaigns that you can run.
Before You Run Ads
You’ll want to do some legwork before you actually run those ads.
You can stumble into a successful campaign, but if you don’t do some work upfront…
…it will be much more difficult and you’ll be unlikely to replicate and generate the best results.
We compiled this list using advice from other account managers here at LYFE who have spent time managing real estate marketing efforts.
So, while this list isn’t exhaustive, it’s filled with strategies we’ve found most helpful in real-world situations (some lessons were learned the hard way).
As with any digital marketing strategy or advice, it may or may not work for you. You’ll need to continue monitoring and adjusting your efforts.
You’ll want to focus on a few areas before your team starts designing ads:
- Who are you advertising to?
- Where are they on their customer journey?
- How will you measure performance? Success? Failure?
- Where will you draw inspiration from?
1. Establish Your Audience
Before you can start running Facebook ads for real estate, you’ll want to have a really clear idea of who you’re targeting.
There’s nothing that will waste your advertising budget faster than having no idea who you’re going for.
You could have the best, most clever ad campaign with the prettiest graphics and video…
…and get exactly zero clients, if you have no idea who you’re making content for.
Depending on how much experience you have, you probably tend to help a similar set of buyers and sellers.
Maybe you mainly handle commercial real estate, or you’ve noticed most of your clients are first-time buyers, or are buying their first investment property.
Look for any patterns in your existing clients and see if there’s a niche you can wiggle into.
That doesn’t mean you should stop marketing to folks outside of this audience.
But it does mean you should focus most of your efforts on honing that audience.
Part of this audience honing is understanding why they’re contacting you, as well as what their needs are (beyond “I need to buy a house” or “I need to sell a house”).
Grab a piece of paper or open a new document on your computer and answer these questions:
- Are there any patterns or trends in the type of people I work with?
- Am I specialized in any type of real estate or loans?
- What areas am I licensed in?
Keep this list nearby, because we’ll use it throughout this post to plan for your first campaign.
2. Understand the Audience’s Place on the Customer Journey
If you don’t know where your customer is (what’s driving their decisions), how will you know how to market to them? Simply put, you won’t.
You need to understand whether your audience is sellers, buyers, other agents, or someone else entirely.
Then you need to figure out where they’re at in your sales cycle, what led them to you, and what they want and need.
Easy right? I’m kidding.
It’s a lot, but it’s possible. You do it all the time.
Think of all the questions clients have asked you and some of the reasons they’re selling.
Each client will have a different path and be on a different spot on that path, but there are general similarities that you can use to guide you.
Understand these similarities because these are the things that will help you build trust with your audience.
For example, a seller, typically, doesn’t wake up one day and just lists their house for sale.
They have some reasons for wanting to do this: relocating for a job, moving closer to family, going to the city or leaving the city, etc.
Maybe this is their first time selling, or maybe they’ve done this 12 different times.
Maybe they’re taking advantage of a hot market and will be looking to stay in the area.
Let’s say your buyer is someone who just sold their first home and is relocating for a new job.
They’re also thinking about starting a family, so they are looking for some extra space.
How would you help them? And what questions would they have?
This would be different from how you’d help an investor buying their fifth rental property, for example.
This is a great way to mine for content.
If there are loans available to second-time home buyers who are planning to have a family, that’s good information to share with potential buyers.
But this shouldn’t be the only advice you share, since you have a bunch of other customers with a different set of questions and needs. Does that make sense?
Let’s revisit that paper or document you used a couple of minutes ago. Answer these questions:
- Are there stories you hear from prospective clients often?
- Are there trends in the client’s reason for buying or selling?
- Are there any patterns in client needs?
- What process of buying/selling do your clients ask the most questions about?
3. Set Key Performance Indicators
It’s not a good idea to set up Facebook ads for real estate without knowing how you’ll track performance.
Leads and clicks won’t be enough information on their own, because you need to know how many actual clients you’re getting from your paid advertising.
How will you know when your ads are working? How many have visited your landing page and fill out your lead form?
How many lead magnet downloads came from your Facebook lead ads?
When you’re getting 100 referrals a month? When you’re getting 3 new clients a month?
Are you happy with anything as long as your ad spend is under $600 a month?
If you’re working with an in-house team, or a digital marketing agency like LYFE, you’ll want to hear what they recommend as far as ad health indicators.
They’ll have a good idea of what to expect for your budget and can easily identify when ads start to decline…
…so you don’t waste a bunch of money on an ad that stopped working.
You can adjust these KPI’s as you go (and you should), so don’t freak out if things aren’t going the way you thought they would.
Manage your expectations from the beginning and know that you’ll need to make improvements and changes as you go.
Let’s get back to that document and answer a few more questions:
- How much can you afford to spend on ads every month?
- How much are you willing to pay per lead?
- How many leads do you want per month?
- What other actions are valuable to you? (page likes, comments, messages, etc.)
- Do you keep track of how clients find you? (If not, you need to start now.)
Hint: Use Hubspot’s Advertising ROI Calculator for help figuring out the budget it will require to reach your goals.
Visit www.hubspot.com/ads-calculator and adjust each slider section to your desired (or actual) results.
The right side of the screen will display results, expected clicks, leads, revenue, and profit, and it displays your ROI at the bottom.
4. Segmenting your marketing efforts
In order to run truly effective Facebook ads for real estate…
…you need to segment your audience and speak directly to their unique situation and needs as often as possible.
To do that, you need to look back to your customer journey exercises and see why folks are contacting you.
From there, you should see some patterns for types of people you work with. There are probably a couple of different groups. Here’s an example:
- Folks who own a home, haven’t decided to list it yet, but want to know what it’s worth.
- Folks who own a home and have decided to list it for sale and want help.
- Folks who are looking to buy a home and are new to the area. Or, they already live here.
Whatever your different audience groups and journeys are, you’ll split your ad and content creation so that you’re hitting each group on a rotating basis.
When choosing ad targeting, you’ll target folks who fit into your groups, and you’ll specifically create your ads to speak directly to that unique journey.
You may think an ad that touches on all the things you can do is a good idea. It says you can do a LOT.
And it will appeal to someone, right? Um… Maybe.
Or, you’ll look so generalized and so all-over-the-place that clients don’t think you can handle their unique situation.
I created two examples for you to illustrate the difference between trying to speak to everyone, and speaking directly to your audience.
- You’re speaking to every possible client:
“I can help you buy or sell a home or commercial property for yourself or as an investment.
Locals and those new to the area, with no budget or big budget, give me a call.”
- You’re speaking to one of your client groups (parents who are relocating from out of state):
“New to the area? I can help you find the best houses in great neighborhoods that are close to the best schools.
I was voted Best Agent for New Residents in 2020 and I know all the coolest parks for the little ones.
Let’s discover some fun parks and tour a couple of houses together (kids are welcome!). Schedule a consultation on my website now (it only takes 2 minutes)!”
I know hypotheticals can be tough to handle, so let’s look at some real examples.
5. Look at Real Examples
It’s always a good idea to see what other companies are doing. For starters, it helps you get a clear idea of what you like and what you don’t like.
It also helps you to identify ways your ads could stand out from the crowd.
Maybe most examples you see use one or two sentences, but you think longer descriptions would generate more interest… Give it a try!
The one or two sentences may be the way to go (which is why you saw people doing it) but maybe your two paragraphs perform really well.
If they don’t, you know to stick with fewer words.
One of our favorite tools for seeing real Facebook ads for real estate that companies are running is the Facebook Ad Library. We’ll give you a tour of the ad library really quickly.
Facebook Ad Library
The Facebook Ad Library was created to help establish transparency across the platform, specifically for political and social issue ads.
For general ads, you can search the Ad Library by advertiser or keyword and browse ads that are active on Facebook.
Take your time to familiarize yourself with the platform.
Play around with all of the search and filtering options and test out different terms and company names when you search.
You can see details for ads that are running, including when they started and other creative associated with the ad.
If your ad is in politics or government, you can see more information and review past ads.
6. Follow Up via Multiple Touchpoints
If you’re running a lead generation marketing campaign, you want to make sure you’re following up with all leads within the first 24-hours.
You’ll want to do this in multiple ways. For real estate, most of our clients have found success following up via phone call and email.
What you don’t want is someone contacting you and never hearing back from you, or hearing back from you weeks later.
Chances are they’ll have found someone else to work with in that timeframe, or will be annoyed and less likely to become a client.
When you’re posting ads on Facebook, you’ll have folks reach out to you in a few ways;
- by comment,
- via message,
- by filling out a lead generation form, or
- an off-Facebook method like calling or emailing.
You’ll want to be actively monitoring those first-contact points and following up within 24-hours.
Follow up in multiple ways too. Of course, respond to them in their original contact (if they left a comment, respond via comment), but don’t stop there.
Send them a private message if they left a comment. Or send them an email if they filled out a lead generation form and follow up with a phone call.
Keep in mind your…
- any internal resources you have (like an assistant),
- number of contacts you expect, and
- your audience
…when choosing placements and methods of contact.
Here are a few ways you can reach out to potential clients (and existing clients):
- Use automated emails (frequently called drip campaigns).
- Use a texting service (most of us would prefer to text). You could use automated responses or respond live.
- Personally respond to calls (or hire someone to help).
- Keep up with comments and messages on your social channels.
On your paper (or in your document), write your plan for reaching out to leads, and at least one other touchpoint.
7. Summing Up Pro Tips from Account Managers
That was a lot, so let’s sum up our tips on running effective Facebook ads for real estate before we move on:
- Know who you’re advertising to
- Know where your audience is in their customer journey
- Segment your marketing efforts
- Establish KPI’s early on (and understand how to improve these)
- Draw inspiration from real examples using the FB Ad Library
- Have multiple follow-ups in place for any leads collected
6 Ad Ideas for Your Real Estate Campaigns
Sometimes the hardest part is brainstorming an idea that makes sense.
Luckily, we’ve done some of the heavy lifting for you.
We used the Facebook Ads Library, the experience of account managers here at LYFE, and our own experience running campaigns to compile a list of ideas.
Now, these aren’t guaranteed to work – because no ads are guaranteed to work – but they’re a great starting point.
Hopefully, they spark an idea or work well enough that you can run with them until you analyze their performance and make your own adjustments.
1. Ask for referrals
Use a lead generation form and ask for referrals. Offer a gift certificate or nice gift to anyone who refers someone who then becomes a client.
2. Advertise listed houses
Show all the glamour shots of new houses on the market. Your targeting should be local and you can show it to folks in the area.
3. Advertise your open house
- Play a game.
(i.e. open house bingo). Folks print or digitally keep track of their bingo cards and attend open houses over a weekend.
They need to go to your open house and turn in their bingo card in person to get the gift card.
- Do a live stream tour
Use this opportunity to answer questions and show the house to anyone who joins online. Advertise this in advance.
Highlight a cool or unique feature of the property as a teaser, and share all the details for date and time.
Encourage viewership by doing a giveaway live (a simple Starbucks gift card would work well). Choose from the live attendees.
4. Advertise a free webinar
- If this is for buyers: Top 10 Staging Tips To Sell Your Home Faster
- If this is for sellers: 3 First Time Home Buyer Loans No One Has Told You About
- If this is for prospective agents: How I Finally Reached My Goal Of $1 Million In Sales
5. Find prospective sellers with freebies (free home appraisal, free staging guide, etc.)
- Run a lead generation campaign for homeowners who would like to see how much their home is worth.
- Offer a free workbook or downloadable guide in exchange for their email address
6. Find prospective buyers with freebies
- Create a video with 15 questions you should ask the listing agent, or 10 things buyers don’t know about putting in an offer.
You can send this to them for free after they fill out your lead generation form or share their contact info on your website.
Now that you’ve got some ad ideas, let’s look at how you’ll set up your new campaign.
Running Your First Facebook Ads For Real Estate Campaign
Now that we’ve covered targeting, ad types, and preparing for your campaign, let’s look at your first campaign.
That information may all seem like a lot, but we’ve found it more helpful to keep the end-goal in mind when making these decisions.
Now that you’re ready to set up your campaign, we’ll walk you through it in the order we’d complete it. Feel free to adjust or skip steps that don’t work for you:
1. Establish your audience segment. (You did this already – check your document.)
2. Identify what portion of the customer journey to focus on for that segment. (Refer to that document again for your customer journey.)
3. List top 3 desires and top 3 problems for this segment at this stage. You can use that same paper we’ve been working on.
4. Write 3 or 4 versions of copy speaking to these problems and desires.
Follow a copywriting formula like Attention, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA) or Problem, Agitate, Solution (PAS).
5. Create graphics (video when possible) that match the tone and messaging of the ad you just wrote (or hire a designer to create graphics for you).
6. Create the ad in Facebook.
7. Launch the ad and monitor performance. Optimize after 2 weeks.
We’ll walk you through setting up your ad in Facebook, in case you haven’t done that before.
You should have a Facebook account, admin access to an ad account and Facebook page, and be logged in. Let’s go through the process:
1. Navigate to your Ad Account.
2. Click the green Create button in the top left.
3. A new window will open. Choose your Campaign Objective. This determines bidding and placements, as well as available ad formats.
For this example, I’ll choose Lead Generation.
4. Then name your campaign, ad set, and ad. This is optional but we like to use it now since we’ll need to enter the information anyway.
5. Click continue.
A new window will open and you’ll start making decisions about the campaign, budget, duration, placements, and ad creative. Let’s walk through that now.
1. Enter Campaign name (if you didn’t do this in the step above)
2. Select Housing in Special Ad Categories. To learn more about category requirements, click here and you’ll see this popup window.
3. In Campaign Details you can change your campaign objective and see if you have any other Buying Type options.
Unless you’re comfortable running Facebook campaigns, I would go with the budget and auction type that Facebook recommends first.
4. If you want to run an A/B test, select the Get Started button.
We recommend using A/B split testing so you know what graphics and messaging users connect with the most.
Use two versions of copy with the same graphic for your first test and see which version gets the most clicks.
5. Next time you can test the winning copy against a couple of different graphic types, or against a new version of copy.
6. Campaign Budget Optimization will be toggled off by default. Toggle this to ON if you want your budget to be split across ad sets evenly.
We recommend only starting with 1 ad set and 4 ads, so leave this off for now.
7. Click Next
Now you’re editing the Ad Set details. Let’s go through that together as well.
Pay attention to the right hand column that floats along with you while you make changes.
Notice the daily estimates and how they change depending on your budget and audience selections.
1. Enter the Ad Set Name if you didn’t do that when you created the campaign.
2. Choose how you want to connect with people. Any option can work as long as you can keep up with it.
Calls are typically a little more expensive to get than lead generation forms completed, but often have higher intent.
So, there are pros and cons to each, and we recommend trying them all to see what works best for you.
3. Connect your Facebook Page here.
4. If you have a bunch of copy and great videos or images, and you want Facebook to do the hard work for you, try Dynamic Creative.
You’ll provide a bunch of different assets and then Facebook uses its algorithm to show the best combination for each individual.
5. Beneath this, you’ll select the Budget and Schedule.
Choose either a daily budget or lifetime budget.
Then set a start and end date if you have a timeframe, or skip the end date if you want the ad to run until you manually turn it off (don’t forget about it!).
6. Select your audience next.
Select the following:
- Location targeting (you’ll probably be advertising using zip codes in your local area),
- Age and gender demographics (for your segmented audience), and
- Detailed targeting.
If you have an email list, you can create a custom audience and target people on Facebook who are similar to your existing clients.
This is a lookalike audience and I highly recommend them when you have enough contacts (1,000 minimum).
7. Next, choose ad placements.
You can choose either automatic (which is recommended by Facebook) or manually.
If you choose manually, you can deselect placements you don’t want to appear (like live video or audience network).
You can see more Brand Safety selection by clicking Show More Options.
8. In Optimization and Delivery, double-check that the ad set is optimized for the right goal (in this case, leads) and enter a cost control if you have one.
9. Click Next.
Now you’re in the individual Ad Creation window. Almost there!
1. Name your ad if you didn’t do that before.
2. Connect the FB account and Instagram account (if applicable).
If you have an influencer publishing a video for you, they’ll choose Branded Content.
You don’t need to worry about that for your own business.
3. In Creative Ad Setup, make your selections. Choose Create Your Ad.
4. Then select Single Image or Video OR choose Carousel (to show up to 10 images or videos in one ad).
5. In Ad Creative, you’ll upload your image(s) or video(s), add your primary text, headline, and description, and choose a CTA.
You can see a preview of this ad on the right of the screen.
6. In Instant Form, connect to a form you’ve already created or click Create Form.
7. Fill in all the form details and tap the blue button.
8. In Tracking, make sure you’re connected to the pixel or tracking that you’ve set up for your account.
9. After everything looks good, click Publish, and Facebook will publish your campaign, ad set, and ads.
Your ads will go into a review process, but they are typically live within 2 hours if there are no issues.
Any issues or disapprovals will show up in your Business Manager dashboard.
You should also get an email announcement if any of your ads are disapproved.
I know it can be challenging to market a service business, and real estate can feel extra difficult.
But with a little bit of planning and the right strategy, you can see success with Facebook ads for real estate.
We hope this helped you get a better idea of how to use Facebook ads to promote your real estate business. We hope it sparked some good ideas as well.